Why does Vanessa keep falling for married men?
Not that she knows she does. At least not at first. But every man who seems like he might be the one turns out to be someone else's. So maybe the right thing to do is take a vow to stay single, to keep away from all men, until she can figure things out.
At least work is a bright spot: It's an anchor to be so good at something, to lose yourself in your job, and Vanessa is a whiz of a chef, so good she makes her grandstanding boss, Hawk--of Albuquerque's chic Nuevo American restaurant hawk--look good. After all, it's his name on the awning above the door. If only her friends and family would get on board with Vanessa's plan and stop trying to fix her up. If she can't fix her life, nobody else is going to get the chance to try--not her parents, not her friends, and certainly not her ultra-well-meaning but just-not-getting-it sister, Larissa.
And nothing could be more with the plan than helping out at her parents' house--gardening, keeping them fed, getting them organized with her loyal pet Red Dog by her side. Red Dog is all the companionship she needs. Until Vanessa meets Paul, her parents' neighbor--he's all wrong on paper, but he's got great manners and certainly seems safe. Not bad in the kissing department, either. But just when Vanessa's guard goes down, the red flag goes up: Could Paul be yet another married man?
Bursting with Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez's trademark wit and originality, The Husband Habit introduces a rich and complex heroine in chef Vanessa. You're not going to want to leave her world when the novel comes to an end.
The sixth novel from Valdes-Rodriguez (The Dirty Girls Social Club) is a mixed bag of overly ambitious prose, lighthearted romance and southwestern flavor. Vanessa Duran, one of Albuquerque's most talented chefs, keeps falling in love with married men, so after a string of dud relationships, her sister extracts a promise: Vanessa will take a break from dating and use the time to figure out why she keeps getting involved with all the wrong men. Of course, Vanessa is attracted to the very next guy who crosses her path-Paul Stebbit, an unpretentious Iraq War veteran. The sparks and banter fly, and Paul seems different enough from her other disastrous relationships that Vanessa begins to open up to him. Of course, an obvious complication pops up. Vanessa's Albuquerque serves as a nice backdrop, and the characters avoid most genre pitfalls, but there's an uncomfortable disconnect between the expository passages and the inane dialogue, and some plot developments (particularly one involving a date featuring a flight in a fighter jet) stretch credibility. A few big holes come close to killing the froth. (July)Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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St. Martin's Press
July 06, 2009
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